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Home Safety Tips
12/11/09

In the Bathroom         In the Kitchen
In the Basement or Garage   In the Bedroom
On the Stairs   Fire Safety
Homes with Small Children   Electrical Safety
Firearm Safety    

In the Bathroom

  • Bathtubs and showers are equipped with grab bars and non-skid mats.
  • Hot water temperature is set at 110-120 degrees F or lower.
  • A light switch is located near the entrance to the bathroom.
  • Small electrical appliances, such as hair dryers, shavers, curling irons or radios, are never used near water in sinks or tubs, and are unplugged when not in use.
  • When bathing, children are always watched by an adult.

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In the Kitchen

 

  • Loose, flowing clothing is never worn during cooking.
  • Extension cords and appliance cords are kept away from the sink and stove.
  • Direct, even lighting is available over the stove, sink and counters – especially where food is sliced and cut.
  • For reaching high shelves, there is a stable stepstool with a handrail to grasp.
  • During cooking, pot handles are turned toward the back of the stove.  Hot liquids (coffee cups!) are kept out of children's reach.
  • Food treats or other items attractive to children are not kept over the stove.
  • Knives and sharp objects are kept out of children's reach.
  • Cleaning supplies are stored separately from food and kept beyond children's reach, or in cabinets secured with child safety latches or locks.
  • High chair is stable, with a wide base and a tray that locks securely.

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 In the Basement or Garage 

  • Work areas are well lighted.
  • Lights can be turned on without walking through a dark area.
  • Power tools have guards in place and are properly grounded.
  • Containers of volatile liquids, such as paints and cleaning solvents, are tightly capped, stored away from and never used near, ignition sources, such as furnaces and water heaters.  Gasoline is stored in an approved container, and is never stored in the home.
  • If there are small children in the house, latches control their access to the garage and basement, which are areas where many dangerous items are often stored.
  • Bicycles are kept in good repair, with adequate brakes and reflectors and a working light for nighttime riding.

In the Bedroom

  • Lamps or light switches are within the reach of each bed.
  • Fire sources, such as ashtrays, smoking materials, heaters, hot plates, teapots, etc., are kept well away from beds and bedding.
  • No one in the house ever smokes in bed!
  • Electric blankets are not covered or folded.  (Tucking in an electric blanket can cause heat buildup and start a fire.)
  • There is a telephone next to the bed.

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On the Stairs

  • If there are small children in the house, toddler gates are used at the top and bottom of stairs.  (Old-fashioned, accordion-style gates are not used.)
  • Stairs are well lighted, and there is a light switch at both the top and bottom of staircases.
  • Sturdy handrails are fastened securely on both sides of the stairway, and these handrails run continuously from the top to the bottom of the flight of stairs.
  • Steps allow firm footing (no worn treads or loose carpeting), are even and of the same size and height.
  • The edges of the steps are easy to see.
  • Nothing is ever stored on the stairway, even temporarily.

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Fire Safety

 

  • There is at least one smoke detector properly installed on every floor of the house.
  • Smoke detectors are checked twice a year to be sure they are working properly.
  • Special smoke detectors are installed for the hearing-impaired.
    Matches and lighters are always out of children's reach.
  • Small heaters and stoves are placed where they can't be tipped over, and are away from furnishings and flammable materials, such as curtains and rugs
  • Space heaters that burn kerosene, LP gas or natural gas are used according to the manufacturer's instructions for safe installation, operation and maintenance
  • Space heaters comply with local fire ordinances.
  • Space heaters are inaccessible to small children.
  • Towels, curtains and other flammable materials are kept away from space heaters, stoves and fireplaces.
  • Woodburning equipment is installed properly, inspected periodically, and inaccessible to small children.
  • Chimneys are inspected and cleaned every year.
  • An emergency exit plan and an alternate route have been mapped out in case of fire, and practiced by the whole family.
  • Working fire extinguisher is in the house or car to handle small fires.
  • All family members, including children, know how to "stop, drop and roll" to put out flames if clothes catch fire.
  • Matches, lighters and butts are always disposed of safely by persons who smoke.  (Remember; cigarette smoking is unhealthy for everyone in the house, including children!)
  • "Tot Finder" or "People Protector" stickers are in windows of bedrooms occupied by children, the elderly or the handicapped.

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People who have small children in their homes (in residence or as visitors) should also check for the following:

 

  • Access to windows is blocked, and windows have secure screens or window guards.
  • All stairs, protective walls, railings, porches and balconies are sturdy and in good repair.
  • All plants are kept out of children's reach. (Some plants are very poisonous.)
  • There are no loose paint chips (which toddlers might swallow) around the house.  (Children who may have been exposed to lead poisoning in this way should be checked by a doctor immediately.)
  • Cleaners are purchased in child-resistant packaging whenever possible, and are not transferred to other containers; non-food items, such as cleaners or bleach, are never stored in food containers.
  • The number for a local poison control center is kept on or near the telephone.
  • There is syrup of ipecac in the house – just in case it's needed to induce vomiting (ipecac should not be used until a poison control center or physician has been consulted).
  • Small items and foods that could choke a child are kept out of reach.
  • Pocketbooks with potentially dangerous items, such as vitamins, birth control pills, cigarettes, matches and lighters, jewelry and calculators (which contain easy-to-swallow, poisonous batteries) are kept out of children's reach.
  • Swimming pools in the neighborhood (including your pool) are fenced with self-latching gates and are inaccessible to children.
  • Swing sets and jungle gyms are securely anchored, have low-impact foundation materials - such as pea gravel, sand, wood mulch or chips - and rounded edges.  Children are always supervised when using equipment.
  • Children are buckled up (in age-appropriate seats, if necessary) during all auto travel - and you always set a good example by buckling up, too!

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Electrical Safety
Always be sure:

  • All electrical and telephone cords are placed out of the flow of traffic.
  • Cords do not run beneath furniture or rugs.
  • Wiring is not nailed or stapled to walls or baseboards.
  • Electrical cords are not frayed or cracked.
  • Extension cords are never overloaded, and the wattage ratings of cords are correct for appliances.
  • Ground Fault Interrupters (GFI) power strips are used for multiple outlets instead of extension cords.
  • All outlets and switches have cover plates.
  • If there are toddlers in the house, plastic "shock-stop" outlet plugs are in place in all unused electrical outlets; electrical cords are out of the reach of small children.
  • Light bulbs are appropriate sizes and types for the lamps and fixtures.
  • All light fixtures have bulbs in them.
  • Electrical space heaters are properly grounded, and are connected directly to wall outlets.
  • If fuses are used, they are always the correct size for the circuit.

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Firearm Safety
If you feel you must keep a gun in your home, take these precautions:

  • Attend a firearm safety course.
  • Keep the gun in a locked drawer or cabinet; keep the key out of children's reach.
  • Store the gun unloaded or disassembled.
  • Use a trigger lock.
  • Keep ammunition in a separate, locked place.

Firearms in the home are more likely to injure a family member than an intruder.  Safer ways to protect your home are:

  • Good lighting all around your home.
  • Secure locks.
  • Dogs.
  • Neighborhood Watch Programs.

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